There’s a whole lot of ‘awful’ built into winter. Between trudging through slushy puddles, washing salt off your car, and shoveling mashed-potato snow out of your driveway, I can easily think of three better seasons. However, if you’re like me, the only thing that makes winter remotely bearable, is skiing. Cruising between snow-capped trees, breathtaking views, and the euphoria of “the after-ski”; it’s enough to take your mind off the pipes bursting at home.
That being said, you can imagine my curiosity when it was announced that a fancy new piece of ski technology was in development. Yesterday PIQ revealed that they’re applying smart technology and applying it to create the world’s first pair of “smart skis” and “kiteboards”. Even though the current incarnation of PIQ’s smart tracker requires wearing the device separately, or manually mounting it to the board, the latest prototype has a a built-in sensor.
The skis were made in partnership with Rossignol and are based off of their Hero Masters design, incorporating a display to view progress. The prototype integrates a PIQ nano-computer and LED readout in front of the ski’s bindings. The computer runs of PIQ’s GAIA Artificial Intelligence system, which autonomously tracks and analyzes a number of performance metrics. The technology monitors the smallest variation in movement and displays the information on the LED screen. The provides the skier with real-time and actionable feedback about their performance.
If speeding down a mountain attached to two planks isn’t your thing, PIQ has also developed a kiteboard in collaboration with North, a leading kiteboard company. The device, built off North’s Jaime product, offers a similar smart integration, with an embedded display and tracker on the top of the board. This allows for easy viewing of statistics including speed, air time, and jump height.
The bad news is that they prototype isn’t yet set for mass production yet, so you’ll need to sit tight for a little longer before it hits the markets. And while talk of price hasn’t yet been discussed, we can make some rough estimates. Consider that Rossignol’s Hero Masters offering traditionally runs around $1000, and then tack on a heap of smart technology and nano-computers. From the looks of it, when PIQ looks to bring this ski gear to the masses, I think we can assume it won’t be cheap.